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How Do We Stand? ‘TOGETHER!’

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How Do We Stand? ‘TOGETHER!’

by Tish Levee

Worldwide impact!

When Teresa Shook, a grandmother in Hawaii, posted “I think we should march” on Facebook on Nov. 9th, she never expected the response she’d get. The next morning, after her post went viral, more than 10,000 people said they were attending the event. It is clear from the results that, as Shook said, “One person can make a difference.”

Worldwide over five million people attended more than 900 marches, according to Professor Jeremy Pressman at the University of Connecticut, who’s been compiling figures for over 914 sites worldwide. See his updated figures, including sources, at tinyurl.com/h6kesbn. There’re awesome, showing from one or two people to nearly one million people participating in tiny towns and metropolises, in blue states and red, in countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Vietnam, and Lebanon

In the U.S.

Every state and Puerto Rico had at least one march, many several, with the most – 47 – in California. At least 80 countries on every continent hosted marches. In Antartica 30 women and men from an expedition ship marched in Paradise Bay, holding signs such as “Penguins for Peace,” and “Cormorants for the Climate.” There were huge marches and small ones. Figures from some big ones: Washington – at least 500K, possibly up to one million; Los Angeles – 750K (80K were expected); New York – 400-500 K; Chicago – 250 K; Oakland and San Francisco joined Denver, Portland, and London with more than 100K each.

In the tiny Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia (population 65), 12 women, a toddler, and two men marched in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. 

A handful of cancer patients, too sick to leave City of Hope Hospital in Los Angeles, taped signs to their IV poles and, with their nurses’ help, walked around their ward. 

People marched in cold and rain, and in Haines AK, 150-170 marched in a howling snowstorm. In Åre, Sweden, a ski-resort of 1500, 60+ men and women cross-country skied 10km in support of the Women’s March, many carrying signs and wearing pink hats. 

North Bay Marching!

Here in the North Bay, there were tiny marches in Pt. Reyes Station (35) and big ones: in Santa Rosa 5,000 (or more); Sonoma and Napa 3,000; Ukiah 1500-2,000;  in Ft. Bragg (population 7,500), 2,000. 

Peaceful, joyful, grassroots! 

Over and over, people commented how peaceful the marches were (no arrests that I know of – anywhere), how full of joy, hope, and optimism people were to be there, how much love everyone felt. Several people I knew marched in DC and elsewhere.

•  Santa Rosa’s Joanne Hawk said,“I was so proud to be there. I was proud to be an American!”

•  Cate Kozak, a freelance journalist from North Carolina, had never seen so many people in one place. She was brought to tears several times by the awe-inspiring energy. “It was definitely one of the most profound days of my life.”

What most impressed her was that this was a genuine grassroots effort. “We came together from all over the country.…old folks, middle-aged people and young people, mothers with babies in acks, women in wheel chairs, people walking with canes, women in hijabs…people of every color…many mothers…daughters…granddaughters marching together…many “old” feminists from the ‘60s and ‘70s…plenty of men and boy….pink pussy hats were a fun way to connect the crowd …the majority, men included, wore some version of a pussy hat…Hand-written signs were a constant entertainment…creative, original, funny and heartfelt…the hand-made ones outnumbered the professionally-done ones, which made them very interesting reading.”

• Santa Rosan Jo Anne Cohn commented, “People all over the world responded!…it wasn’t something organized by a political party or a paid activist. NO one made calls to ask people to show up. We wanted to be there…we made it happen!…I was proud to be from the United States…it felt good to stand up for values shared by millions others around the globe!

• My friend Susan Flakus who marched in Oakland, then took BART over to SF to march in the evening said,  “Both marches were peaceful, positive, and passionate in our beliefs and solidarity.” A cold hard rain fell on the marches, but “our spirits were joyful as talked and chanted about what matters to us.”

Not the first time!

This isn’t the first Women’s March on Washington. In 1913, women from around the country and the world marched in DC the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. Many had hiked 234 miles from New York in 17 days, bearing a letter to the President-elect, demanding he make suffrage a priority of his administration. They warned that the women of the nation would be watching “with an intense interest such as has never before been focused upon the administration of any of your predecessors.”(Note: Women – and some men – had been working for women’s suffrage for over half a century; it took less than seven years after the march for them to win the vote. They did it! We can, too!)

Not the last time, either!